For what has been the wildest SEC baseball season in recent memory, the time is now for these teams to figure it out or get left behind.
Ole Miss, Florida, and Vanderbilt appear to be figuring it out late, which should be scary for the rest of the league – as well as the rest of the country.
Tennessee Wraps Up Series and SEC Quickly
After their first series loss of the year, Tennessee bounced back taking down Georgia in the first two games of the weekend to secure the regular season SEC title.
Blake Burke was 3-4 with 2 home runs for Tennessee in Thursday’s 5-2 win, while Chase Dollander improved to 7-0 going 6 innings allowing 1 earned run on 3 hits with no walks and 6 strikeouts.
Friday, Tennessee won 9-2 and Jorel Ortega led the offense with 3 hits and 3 RBI. Blake Tidwell continued his comeback striking out 6 over 4 innings.
Georgia did get a win in the finale to keep their hopes alive for a first-round bye in the SEC Tournament and potential national seed.
Vanderbilt Finding Themselves and Creating Havoc for the SEC West
Vanderbilt entered 2022 picked by many to be the best team in the country, but we’ve yet to see that team come together. They might be peaking at the right time
They’ve won four of their last five series, including a series win on the road this past weekend against Arkansas.
Friday’s game was wild as the two teams went back-and-forth until Enrique Bradfield Jr. hit a 3-run homer in the top of the 10th.
Carter Holton tossed 7 scoreless innings on Sunday in a game that only went 7 innings, as Vanderbilt took the series with a 5-0 win.
The series loss for Arkansas opened up the door in the SEC West.
Texas A&M remains the hottest team in the country as they swept Mississippi State this past weekend and have now moved into a tie in the SEC West with Arkansas. And the Aggies do hold the head-to-head tie over Arkansas.
If Jim Schlossnagle isn’t named the Coach of the Year, the voting is rigged.
For Mississippi State, the defending champs are not just in jeopardy of missing the NCAA Tournament this year, but if the season ended today they’d miss the SEC Tournament.
Auburn barely remains in the SEC West race after picking up two close wins over rival Alabama. They could have a real shot if the third game of the series wasn’t canceled because of weather.
In Saturday’s game, Auburn fell behind 4-0 in the first inning and scored six unanswered to comeback and beat Alabama 6-4.
The Crimson Tide have likely fallen out of the NCAA Tournament field at this point and might need a win or two next weekend to make sure they reach Hoover.
Florida and Ole Miss Make a Final Push
In our most recent bubble watch, both Florida and Ole Miss were listed in the “work left to do” column.
They both did plenty of work this past weekend as Ole Miss swept a ranked LSU team at Alex Box Stadium.
Dylan DeLucia was great for Ole Miss on Friday giving up 3 earned runs on just 3 hits and 2 walks over 7 innings with 9 strikeouts. Hunter Elliot gave up 1 earned run on 4 hits and 3 walks with 9 strikeouts in 6.2 innings for Ole Miss on Saturday, while the offense gave him plenty of run support in an 11-1 win.
Florida also went on the road and had a good weekend with a series win. Their pitching is starting to come around without Hunter Barco who is shut down for the rest of the season.
Brandon Sproat gave up just 1 earned run on 3 hits and a walk on Friday for the Gators with 7 strikeouts in 6.2 innings. The offense put up 11 runs with 4 home runs.
Missouri came from behind on Saturday to win 5-3.
Nick Pogue had one of his best starts of the season giving up 3 earned runs on 5 hits with no walks and 8 strikeouts over 6.2 innings on Sunday as Florida held on for the 4-3 win.
Ole Miss and Florida are both just one game under. 500 in the conference now and looking like they are on the good side of the bubble going into the final weekend of the regular season.
LSU may have fallen out of a host spot, while it looks like Missouri won’t be making it to the SEC Tournament.
South Carolina wins an Elimination Series Over Kentucky
South Carolina and Kentucky’s chances of reaching the NCAA Tournament as an at-large bid remain slim, but certainly what little chance they had depended on winning this weekend’s series.
It was South Carolina that came out on top.
The Gamecocks continued their dominance at home taking the first two games of the series 11-3 and 7-0.
Josiah Sightler, Andrew Eyster, and Michael Braswell combined for 9 hits and 8 RBI in Friday’s win. Noah Hall dominated on the hill Saturday tossing 8 shutout innings allowing just 2 hits and 3 walks with 8 strikeouts.
Kentucky did manage to win the finale game of the series, but they will likely have to sweep Auburn at home next weekend and then win a couple of games in the SEC Tournament to have a shot to get in the NCAA Tournament.
South Carolina ends the regular season on the road, which has not been great for them this year. And they go up against a Florida team that is starting to click.